When talent meets technology – how gig economy can bring cheer to India’s underemployed

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The gig economy is here to stay with a clear message: Don’t look for a monthly wage job at some else’s mercy, create one for yourself. However, do only brave hearts survive and succeed in gig jobs? Definitely not! With the right mindset and confidence level, one can prepare to face the volatile job market that pays a premium for your skill & talent, experience depending on you sell them in a competitive market. Job creation and underemployment are two grave concerns for the growth of Indian economy. Let’s accept and fact that we cannot create formal jobs with dignified wages for 1 million youth that enters the world of work, every month.

The gig economy is fast disrupting the labour market in the formal sector redefining the jobs, salaried, security, commitment and talent acquisition. On-demand jobs, contractual work, freelance, temporary assignment etc are taking over the permanence of job roles with fixed pay and social benefits. We may attribute this to the fast emerging technologies and how they have become indispensable in finding the right jobs, employer engagement combined with flexibility and choice. Today, many are attracted to such employment as it helps them do what they prefer to do for a living, work from where they wish to work, get paid as per their knowledge, skills and market value.

Gig economy India Rajesh A R Go for the gig job: Instead of being underemployed or unemployed and waiting for full-time job that can fulfill all your expectations in terms of job roles, pay package, perks and so on, you can try short assignments. Look at the way workers in the informal sector have taken to performance-based contractual jobs and many have made it big too! Put your talent and skills into use and create a portfolio that matches industry requirements.

 Embrace online platforms and networks: Gig economy manifests itself through many platforms that bring together the demand and supply of talent. You can access a variety of jobs through online platform and experience the vibrant talent market across countries. Smart networking combined with social media engagement is necessary to gain right visibility.

 Deliver value: Today, the scope for employing oneself is not limited to time, place, qualifications or experience. Turning the unused portion of your home into a homestay can bring you regular income or by offering your services in video editing, from the comfort of your home, you may be able to earn more what a salaried job could have paid you. The value you deliver to the customer matters more than how you fit into a predefined job role.

Be agile and responsive: Agility is the key to respond to the dynamics of the job market. Learning new skills, continuous learning and upskilling prepares you to fit into dynamic job roles. Though it takes tremendous practice to think on your feet, the fast changing nature of employment is equally competitive.

The war against underemployment & unemployment is being waged with alternatives like promoting entrepreneurship, facilitating self-employment and preparing youth for overseas jobs. These weapons are not enough for formal sector to absorb the emerging millions as every job cannot be a permanent one with perks, promotions and regular contribution to the provident funds. Is the formal sector prepared to embrace gig way of working? Are the aspirants of formal sector jobs making their first moves in being independent, autonomous instead of waiting for full-time, salaried jobs? Industry trends show that we are heading towards a new era of jobs that can be picked and chosen as per one’s talent, purpose and passion. This can be a win-win trend both for the industry and the job seeker.

This is a guest article by Rajesh A. R, Chairman and Managing Director, LabourNet Services India Limited.

The views expressed above belong to the author. NSN does not subscribe to the views and opinions expressed in the article.

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